Teenage Sex and Pregnancy

Modern Myths, Unsexy Realities

by Mike A. Males


Surprisingly, in light of popular belief, pregnancy among younger teens in the United States is at the lowest levels ever. Perhaps even more astonishingly, the best studies show teen motherhood is not socially costly and may even be economically beneficial for certain poor populations, and a lot of press panics about teen sex turn out to be myths. How do we separate truth from myth when it comes to this hot-button subject?

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Cover image for Teenage Sex and Pregnancy

July 2010


Pages 253
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Psychology/Human Sexuality

This detailed, exhaustively documented account shows how and why just about everyone in today's teen pregnancy debate is wrong—often disastrously so.

Teenage Sex and Pregnancy: Modern Myths, Unsexy Realities presents a unique view of its subject by analyzing the extensive myths and fears that surround discussion of teenage sex and pregnancy, including their relationship to popular culture, poverty, adult sexual behaviors, and anxieties toward the increasingly public roles of young women.

Award-winning author Mike Males argues that today's discussions rely largely on falsehoods and the suppression of crucial realities. His work details a new view of popular culture as a largely beneficial feature of teens' lives and presents a carefully documented analysis demolishing destructive myths about the "new girl." Debunking popular arguments, he shows that the "teen sex" debate is mired in interest-group talking points that ignore difficult realities to advance politically attuned agendas. It's time, he writes, to modernize the discussion, recognizing that teens act in ways consistent with their interests, with the sexual behaviors of adults, and with the school and job opportunities afforded them.


  • Dozens of cases of original research findings from standard statistical sources that have not been presented in other works
  • A chronology documents the teenage sex and pregnancy controversy as it has occurred over the past century
  • Discusses in detail many popular images and fears, including internet predators, “hooking up,” “sexting,” and media-driven teen sexuality


  • Provides the most comprehensive and far-reaching critique of teen sex and pregnancy myths ever, challenging conventional wisdom and tearing down untruths
  • Argues that new leadership should modernize the teen sex discussion to reflect economic conditions and the integrated nature of adult and teen sexual behaviors appropriate to a diverse society
  • Analyzes the most publicized studies on teenage sex to show how they didn't find what their authors claim they did—but did find other interesting things those authors never mentioned
  • Subjects popular books, articles, and commentaries on teenage sex and pregnancy to withering analysis—and finds most are fictional
Author Info

Mike A. Males, PhD, is senior researcher for, Oklahoma City, OK, and the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, San Francisco, CA. He is the author of Framing Youth: 10 Myths about the Next Generation and The Scapegoat Generation: America's War on Adolescents and is the recipient of several journalism and author awards.

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